Friday, September 06, 2013

How Do We Learn Best

When we take on the role of homeschooling, we're taking on a big responsibility, but it's a labor of love.  More and more families are choosing to homeschool.  I'm noticing this more each year at our homeschool conferences and at our local homeschool support group meetings. Homeschool statistics indicate that in 2003 2.2% of school-age children were homeschooled. In 2007 it was up to to 2.9%. Although there have been no recent studies to indicate the number of homeschool families living in the United States, it has been estimated that the growth rate of homeschooling families is between 7 to 15 percent each year.

Along with this boom of homeschoolers, we are also seeing a growth in the selection of homeschool materials and curriculum. To find the best curriculum for your family, you should first determine which method of homeschooling best fits your family. Some examples are structured learning, which is a more traditional school at home style of learning with schedules, testing and grading; Unschooling or Child-led learning, using materials that engaging the child in their particular strengths and interests; and Eclectic, which is choosing different materials to best suit your child's needs.

The next thing you may want to do is find the style of learning that best suits your child and you as the teacher.  The main ones are visual, auditory and tactile or kinesthetic. While we all may have a little of each style, there is usually one that each individual uses more to perceive and process information.  For example, if I want my young daughter to learn a concept or memorize some math facts, the best way for her to do this is through educational songs and videos or math games. Workbooks alone will bore her. I need and want to make learning fun for her. I want her to retain what she is learning.
My older students/children have strengthened their weaker auditory style of learning over the years as they've matured.  This is a good thing, since it's usually the style used in college courses.  I'm reminded of an interesting article I read recently on Rethinking the Way College Students are Taught.  We don't want to make learning harder, we want to make it easier.  We want to be successful, but we want our children to be successful, too.

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